Love is Stronger than Alzheimer’s

*July 2022*
My dad left this world in July of 2011.

Every year since I posted this story, I return during the month of July to read and remember.
It’s been 10 years since my dad died of complications due to Alzheimer’s disease. The last time I saw him, he did not know who I was. Regardless, we spent the entire day holding hands as we walked up and down the hallways of the Alzheimer’s nursing home. He didn’t say much, but I know that he appreciated the company. His smile was genuine; his eyes still sparkled like blue ocean water.

While I was there, the caregivers at the home repeatedly told him that I was his daughter. I think their constant reminders began to annoy him, because when the last ‘lady in blue’ passed by, he decided to introduce me before she could say anything.  He stood up, pointed at me, and said: “This is my desire. I want her to be your desire too.”

I know that he meant to say daughter. But I think that ‘Desire’ is the most beautiful name that anyone has ever called me.
Mary and Dad
As I walked through time with him that day, I thought about how short life appears to be in the end. Seconds somehow became years while we weren’t watching, and memories  slowly faded away like shadows of a dream coming to an end in the morning light.

Before I left that day,
I hugged my dad and quietly said—
“Don’t worry. God remembers you.”
Then, he gently kissed me on the cheek and said goodbye.

Peace be with you always, dad.
None of us remember the beginning of life
spent in the darkness of the womb,
but we were surely there.
And so it is with the end of life—
our memories do not define us!
We came into the world because of love,
and we leave the world in the arms of love.
Through love, in love, with love–we are.
Memories may come and go
but love endures forever.      ~ms

About Mary Strong-Spaid

You can find me any time wandering around in my own mind gathering thoughts.
This entry was posted in Family, Philosophy, Photo Essay and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

29 Responses to Love is Stronger than Alzheimer’s

  1. Dina says:

    A big hug to you.



  2. David Crews says:

    Thanks for visiting my blog. I’ve enjoyed your site and your story here especially touched me as I also lost my Dad this year to complications from Alzheimer’s. It taught me a lot about living in the present moment and unconditional love.
    Peace, David.


  3. It taught me a lot also about what is really important in life. Peace to you also David.


  4. Lynda says:

    Your words are simply beautiful, Mary. Thank you for sharing them with me. Your father was so handsome!


  5. ajaytao2010 says:

    Mary you are so beautiful and what a story of your dad who was unable to even recognise you at the end, what a beautiful human he seemed in his younger days, I want to give you a big hug and cry for everything you are


    • Your kind sentiments are greatly appreciated, Ajay. Reading through this again, perhaps I should add the exact words that I said when I was leaving (when I hugged my dad goodbye and told him not to worry).
      With my arms around him and my face close against his cheek, I whispered–“Don’t worry, Dad, don’t worry. God remembers you.”


  6. Judy says:

    Beautiful words and you Dad was a handsome man!! My mother does not have the official dx but probably it is Alzheimers or in the family of conditions I guess. Memory gaps growing and with anger issues, but still herself much of the time and we can still share reading and art. Sometimes when I have an issue with a composition, she has the best eye for the critique still. I enjoy that.


  7. jmgoyder says:

    What an amazing tribute – beautiful and for me inspirational – thank you!


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  9. Tamie says:

    This is such a beautiful memory, Thank you for sharing Mary, you truly have a gift. I miss you.


  10. Graham Brown says:

    This is a lovely article to commemorate your father, Mary. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and emotions. Thank you also for your kind comments about my blog. Very best wishes from Orkney, Graham


    • Thanks Graham…you and I are about the same age I see! Which is another reason I enjoy your blog. We basically grew up during the same time period. Shared similar life experiences. Somehow now, life doesn’t feel as safe as it used to….


  11. Tamie says:

    Beautiful tribute to your father and your last moments with him. Desire is a beautiful name. I pray Texas is being good to you.


  12. Leya says:

    So beautiful, Mary. I understand if you keep coming back to this every year. My mother has got Alzheimer –


    • It is hard to watch memories slip away.
      With the one you love still there, but somehow gone.
      Makes me sad.
      Often I wonder–will this happen to me too?
      (Which is why my blog is named “Before I Forget”)
      Don’t know why, but a song just decided to come drifting through my mind:
      “Row, row, row your boat
      gently down the stream
      merrily, merrily, merrily,
      life is but a dream……”
      I guess in the end, it is very much like a long dream.


      • Leya says:

        I guess you are right. We can just try to treasure it every day. It is not easy. I think about it too – will this happen to me as well? But then – you do not know when your life will come to an end. That might happen before we get old and disabled.


  13. Mags says:

    This was bitter sweet Mary and heartwarming at the same time. You are right that love endures forever. Warm hugs for you and thank you again for sharing these beautiful words.


  14. Anonymous says:

    Much Love to you Mary Strong Spaid, Julie I think I can see my mother just a little? He sure has a beautiful face.


    • He was the 2nd to the last of the 9 children….Barbara was the youngest.


    • I am sure that you can see a bit of your mom in his face.
      He never wanted to talk about his family and I don’t know why. It wasn’t until right before he died that I found out he had a sister named “Mary.” When he asked who I was that day, I told him I was Mary. The conversation that followed went like this:
      “No. No. You can’t be my sister Mary. She is older than me and she is already dead.”
      “But I am not your sister. I am your daughter–Mary.”
      “Oh no. You can’t be my daughter! You are too old to be my daughter. How old am I?”
      ” You are about 80 years old.”
      “What? How can that be? When did I get to be this old?”
      I laughed and said, “I don’t know. I don’t know how I got to be this old either. Time is a very strange thing.” 🙂
      And that was the end of the conversation about who I might be.


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